Partners, Andrew Kaplan and Amelia Choyne, obtain summary judgment for resident-physician in Queens County Supreme!

A Queens County Supreme Court judge recently reaffirmed the long-held legal precedent that a resident physician in training is not liable for the medical judgment and decisions of a supervising attending physician by granting summary judgment to Aaronson Rappaport’s resident physician-client.

Plaintiff claimed that the resident, then in her second year of ENT (ears, nose, and throat) training, along with multiple other medical providers, including the resident’s supervising ENT attending physician, failed to timely diagnosis a postoperative vascular occlusion in the leg leading to the need for multiple surgeries to reestablish blood flow to the leg and subsequent complications, including infection. Aaronson Rappaport Partners, Andrew Kaplan, and Amelia Choyne, moved for summary judgment arguing that the 2nd year ENT resident-client did not exercise independent judgment nor did the supervising ENT physician’s order deviate so greatly from normal practice that intervention by the resident was required. The motion was supported by the deposition testimony of the supervising ENT attending physician confirming that the resident-physician’s care was provided under his supervision and that he made all the medical decisions relevant to the resident’s care and the relevant plan of care for the patient. Nevertheless, plaintiffs opposed the resident’s motion, arguing that, despite the supervising ENT attending’s testimony, the resident acted independently in providing care and/or should have known that there was a vascular occlusion leading her to intervene with the attending’s orders. The Court wholly disagreed as it determined that there was no evidence that the ENT resident acted independently nor that the ENT attending physician’s care so deviated from normal practice that the resident was required to intervene. Thus, the Court granted the resident summary judgment and dismissed her from this matter.

Congratulations to Andy and Amelia for their effort on behalf of our happy ARFD client!